Shannon stood to his feet and walked down the sidewalk to the street. Shrugging his shoulders, he looked both ways, turning his head, and then nodded his head up and down a few times, as though coming to some internal decision. The street stretched empty and uninhabited. He knelt to his knees, then rose to his feet, holding the weed he'd pulled from the crack in the sidewalk while shaking his head side to side to indicate no. The whole entire world seemed to hold its breath.
Do you see all the redundancies in that paragraph? I know I see them. Phrases like "stood to his feet" and "shrugging his shoulder" and "nodded his head up and down", multiple adjectives that mean the same thing. Let me show you the cleaned-up version of this same paragraph.
Shannon stood and followed the sidewalk to the street. Shrugging, he looked both ways and nodded, as though coming to some internal decision. The street stretched, desolate. He knelt then stood, holding the weed he'd pulled from the crack in the sidewalk while shaking his head. The entire world seemed to hold its breath.
The whole thing is sort of stupid, but I hope it made my point. Some other redundant phrases I've seen lately:
"sipping at a drink"
"wave her hand"
"rose to her knees" or "rose to her feet"
Anyway, I hope you understand what I mean. The thing is, your story isn't just about word count. I know a lot of people who are obsessed about word count, and that will cause them to pad out their story with unnecessary words and phrases. Keep it clean. That doesn't mean you need to be terse and staccato, but there is no need for some of the extras I've seen lately.
Until next time...